Escaping to My Honeymoon in Grand Cayman

Text by Dede Fulk

When we heard about the quaking earth, fissures roaring like jet engines, towering lava fountains erupting with magma spewing into the air and Olivine gemstones raining down on the Big Island of Hawaii, it sounded like a National Geographic show. Not the way to start a honeymoon. So we hanged our honeymoon destination at the last minute and headed to the blue-green azure waters about 4800 miles away in the Cayman Islands.

Sixty to 100 foot visibility in the water, swaying palm trees, seclusion, delicious Caribbean seafood cuisine, and nature adventures filled with wildlife sounded like the perfect start for our marriage.

Grand Cayman is located in the Western Caribbean just south of Cuba, and 167 miles northwest of Jamaica. It sits at the edge of the Cayman Trench, the deepest part of the Caribbean ocean at more than 4 miles deep. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide at its longest point and 60 feet above sea level. You can scope out the perimeter by car in a day. But remember you are driving on the opposite side of the road. We only had two close encounters but quick reflexes put us back on the correct side.

We arrived on a flight from Phoenix to Dallas straight into Grand Cayman. As a travel consultant I planned a true luxury trip with personalized experiences and memories that would last a lifetime.

We used a meet and greet service that whisked us away as we came down the plane steps, gathered our luggage, delivered us to customs and then took us to our rental car. They even loaded our luggage into the car. What a way to experience VIP service while others waited in long lines.

Just 40 minutes away from the airport on the North End at Rum Point you’ll find Island Sunset- Island House 16 in the British West Indies. Rush hour on the island still resembles rush hour in the states except that you have roundabouts throughout the island and streets are one lane. Once you escape the town, driving along the coastline you catch glimpses of the waves lapping up on the beaches and the pristine colored water. Turn left for a 20-minute drive and you arrive to the other side of the island.

Darkness and billowy clouds had rolled in during our drive out to Rum Point. In the distance lightening flickered. Dodging crabs, iguanas and chickens was totally normal for islanders. Some didn’t make the journey from one side to the other. All I could think about was how you could eat chicken or crab every meal if you just got desperate. Then we passed the enormous Rum barrel signifying our arrival to Rum Point.

The first thing I did when we arrived is run out to the back of our villa to see the lagoon that was at our doorstep. The villa was situated on one of the Bioluminescent bays of the world. Lighting around the bay and the moonlight reflected off the water. My toes dipped in the babypowder sand as I walked around the grounds. I could see the 3 kayaks that were ours for the week. I would have to wait until the morning to get a real perspective of our honeymoon escape.

Inside our Island House, Property Managers Craig and Dale had arranged a welcome gift of chilled wine and Rum cake that happens to be the #1 export of the Cayman Islands. Each cake delivered a hand glazed 5-year old blend of Tortuga Gold rum from a generations old island family recipe. Although it contains less than 1% alcohol it still

melted in my mouth and I felt the heady sensation that I had a buzz. Perhaps it was the trip and I was tired because they say the rum cake is appropriate for all ages.

Our two-story villa at 1900 square feet took my breath away. It was better than arriving at a hotel where you could only walk into the bathroom or your bedroom. The two bedrooms each with their own bathrooms overlooked the bay and had their own balcony to sit on. Huge walk in closets were waiting for you to empty your suitcases and hang your clothes. Downstairs it was an open floor plan with window to ceiling views. The dining room table was all set with plates and wine glasses showcasing palm trees and island paintings. The kitchen was fully stocked with utensils, stainless steel appliances and even a grill should you decide to cook at home. A hideaway room off to the

side of the main room was painted in brilliant turquoise colors with a swivel chair waiting for you to bring a book and sit down.

Early in the morning the ocean was calling to me. I sneaked out of the villa while Keith was sleeping to take some awesome shots of the bay and gather my thoughts before anyone was outside. I saw lines drawn in the sand heading to palm trees and tropical foliage. Little did I know they were from the lizard tails that inhabit the island. It wasn’t until later that day that I saw these two-foot long iguanas munching on their green leafy meal.

The community pool was situated just at the end of the property for a full vew of the biobay. With about 10 chairs basked around the rectangle pool and palm trees swaying it felt like heaven when I sat down to relax. Houses in an assortment of sizes dotted the sides of the bay to the mouth of the ocean. The colors in the bay were greenish with dark spots. Later I learned the dark spots were jellyfish that don’t sting and have a symbiotic relationship with brown algae that lives on their tentacles. The jellyfish provides a safe place to live and the algae provides nutrition.

At the back door to the villa a small bucket filled with water waited patiently to wash away all evidence of sand on your feet. The enclosed netted patio allowed you to sit outside and enjoy the view without the mosquitos chewing on you at night. Sand toys waited for kids to play with them. Floaty toys and towels there for your use.

By now Keith was awake and my words just came spilling out about all the palm trees, the Bioluminescent Bay and how I couldn’t wait to get the drone up for the bird’s eye view and to take some photos.

We gathered our things and ventured out to grab some coffee at the nearby cafe. A few restaurants are available depending on whether you want upscale or beach food. It was a destination meant to be secluded, not touristy. It was like really living there and feeling the true culture of the Cayman Islands. As we drove down to the cafe construction workers were building and reinforcing the homes that flanked the road on either side of the Biobay. I imagine the hurricanes cause destruction during the rainy season. The construction had to be top notch to endure those winds. We noticed For Sale signs, concrete construction and mansions on stilts all with names containing “Kai” to describe the private homes.

The humidity was stifling in June, even in the early morning. I couldn’t wait to get in the water or in some air-conditioned spot. The cafe seated about 8 people and offered some munchies with a variety of coffee drinks. It was perfect for a quick snack but a trip into town for real food in our villa was necessary.

The next few days consisted of relaxing in the villa, kayaking the bay and taking in different excursions to stingray city, starfish point, and jet skiing across the waters during a torrential rain. Luckily we had an airconditioned villa with rotating fans in each room to cool off. Our private washer and dryer kept our clothes and towels clean and dry. Views from every window captured a palm tree or the bay. It was true luxury and rejuvenation after months

of planning the perfect wedding. We even watchedNat Geo’s week-long shark encounters while we were relaxing. It didn’t seem to scare me during the day but I couldn’t get that out of myhead when we swam in the bay at night to experience the Bioluminescence Bay. A walk across the street and the ocean lapped up on the beach. Red Sail Sports had various water toys available for rent; paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis, and excursions out into the waters. We couldn’t miss tasting the infamous mudslide frozen drink known for The Wreck Bar and Grill. Drink it too fast and you’d get the typical brain freeze.

The Bioluminescent bay is best seen during a new moon. Unfortunately it was almost a full moon when we arrived so the tours weren’t operating. The brilliant colors of millions of micro-organisms that light up in the water when stimulated wouldn’t be as profound for us but I still had to experience this rare phenomenon. One night we headed out late in the evening when the moon had partial cloud cover and lighting flickered miles away. We waded into the bay with our kayak paddles to stir up the water.

What a magical scene even if it wasn’t the best time to view the organisms. The bubbles around our bodies turned whitish blue in color. It truly looked like you were doing snow angels in the water at night. Of course the mosquitos got some tasty nibbles so we headed back to the villa.

Before arriving to the island I planned authentic experiences to see breathtaking scenery, interact with nature, and enjoy the local flavor. Designing Vacations LLC, our company, made sure that personalized adventures would be the highlight of our trip. We didn’t do everything available on the island but our itinerary included adventures that will forever be a story to tell.

To find your perfect villa or home for vacations on the island contact either myself at dede@designingvacations.com or www.caymanvacation.com and reach out to don@caymanvacation.com

Dede Fulk

Dede Fulk, owner of Designing Vacations LLC Globetrots around the world with her husband, Keith, scoping out unique luxury destinations that include nature, culture and cuisine. She combines her passion for blogging, photography and videography with travel consulting to create meaningful experiences for Kevin McGoffN Kevin McGoff is a travel writer living in Indianapolis and Isle sur la Sorgue, in southern France. He is a member of The International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance. His published articles may be found at Next Stop Sur la Route travelers and to make the world a better place one trip at a time. You can contact Dede at www.designingvacations.com or dede@designingvacations.com



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